[06/12/08 - 12:03 AM]
The Futon's First Look: "My Boys" (TBS, Season Two)
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

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(Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c starting tonight)

The network's description: "The Transitioning" (written by Betsy Thomas; directed by Barnet Kellman) - "PJ, Stephanie and Stephanie�s new boyfriend, Lance, are on their way to Italy when PJ is called to the first class cabin, where her mystery date awaits. Meanwhile, the trip turns out to be a bit of a disaster for Stephanie. Back home, the guys are having some life changes of their own. Brendan is worried about impending format changes at the radio station. Andy seems to have sold his soul in his new job as a big-time corporate lawyer. And Mike makes the big mistake of sleeping with a waitress from Crowley�s and then not calling her afterwards, prompting the entire gang to be banned from the premises for two weeks." "Dinner Party" (written by Sebastian Jones; directed by David Trainer) - "Stephanie has just completed writing a book, and three publishing houses are hungry for it. Her sudden success in writing a book about relationships leads her to suggest that one way for PJ to find Mr. Right is to host a singles dinner party. Unfortunately, the night turns out to be a disaster for just about everyone except Kenny, who suddenly seems to have found his mojo. Meanwhile, Andy has hired a very attractive nanny, but her healthy lifestyle is driving him crazy."

What works: "My Boys" is one of those shows that took a while to grow on me with its "Only in TV and Movies" understanding of sportswriting, endless Chicago shout-outs and its "Sex and the City" - but with guy friends! - mugging. I'm glad I stuck with the show though (it didn't hurt it aired during the dead zones of network programming: November-December and July-August) as it eventually morphed into a genuinely funny thirtysomething ensemble piece. Season two then has the show returning in peak form as PJ (Jordana Spiro), Stephanie (Kellee Stewart), Lance and "mystery guy" (sorry kids, I'm not telling) head to France while the guys are left without a den mother back in Chicago. The latter plot not surprisingly leads to the funniest developments - whether it be Mike (Jamie Kaler) taking up a Matthew McConaughey-esque drawl, Kenny (Michael Bunin) being overly concerned when one of the guys doesn't call him back within 24 hours or Andy (Jim Gaffigan) embracing his decision to sell out his morals. Episode two likewise throws most of the madcappery the guys way as Brendan (Reid Scott) and Bobby (Kyle Howard) compete for Andy's new nanny's (Mini Anden) affections while Andy finds he can't be himself around her due to her hotness. And you don't need to be Nostradamus to figure out what happens when PJ throws a "bring a single friend" dinner party. (Mike also gets what could be the line of the season with regards to his basketball league.)

What doesn't: I'm still not as caught up in PJ's dating foibles as I'm sure the show would like me to be. Nevertheless, "mystery guy's" identity proves to be an interesting choice, one that opens up what I'm sure most people assumed was a dead plotline. TV romance rules however dictate that said guy has to be sidelined (yes I can use clunky sports metaphors too!) so that tension can build towards - presumably - this season's cliffhanger.

The bottom line: All in all, I'm glad the "Boys" are back - TV always needs more good comedy.

  [june 2008]  


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